Monthly Archives: October 2015

Friday Favorites: My Favorite Funny Instagram Pics

Happy Friday to all my favorite blog readers!

For this week’s Friday Favorites, I decided to take a stroll down Memory Lane (well, Instagram Memory Lane) and share some of my favorite funny pictures.  Oh and if you wanted to follow me on Instagram, you can search @hope9680…just sayin ๐Ÿ˜‰
I used to have an iPhone app that added random captions to photos.  When I took this picture of my friends’ baby, I couldn’t have asked for a better caption.  
Before my friend adopted my cat from me, this adorable creature managed to get himself into plenty of unexplainable situations.  Like this one.  I should point out that the basket of clothes never fell–it was actually balancing like that!
I was fortunate enough to work with my brother at my company for a short period of time.  During that time, he consumed many cups of coffee and (rightfully so) got annoyed when people would finish the last of the coffee and not make more.  Hence, the note.
I’m just going to let this one speak for itself.
I’m not a huge fan of vandalism…but as someone who has spent forever looking for a parking space in a Baltimore garage, I totally understand the sentiment.
And finally, Flying Linus.
I linked up with Meet at the Barre for Friday Favorites!  Enjoy your weekend everyone!

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Tired Gal Taco Soup: It’s What’s for Dinner!

It was a dark and stormy night.  And afternoon.  And morning.  Seriously Baltimore weather decided to wake up up on the wrong side of the bed Wednesday morning, and by the time I was about to head home from work, I knew that it was soup night.

I went to the store and got all of the ingredients to make a chili recipe that I found at KitchMe…except the chili seasoning.  
So I looked at the shelves in my kitchen and saw a package of taco seasoning that I had meant to use for, well, tacos.  No time like the present to merge a couple of recipes together to make up a new one!
The result…Chicken Taco Soup!
It’s ridiculously easy to make and also ridiculously delicious.  
Tired Gal Taco Soup

Ingredients:
  • 1 15oz can of whole kernel corn
  • 1 15oz can of kidney beans (drained)
  • 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (you may want one of them to include chiles or onions)
  • 1/2 jar of salsa
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 package of taco seasoning (I use Old El Paso)
  • 1 fully-cooked rotisserie chicken (if you’re a tired gal, then you do NOT want to take the time to cook a chicken first, plus you can use the extra chicken for another meal)
Directions:
  • Dump the cans of corn, tomatoes and beans (remember to drain the beans) into a large pot (I used my Ninja Slow Cooker on the stovetop setting).  
  • Add the salsa and mix to combine all ingredients.
  • Tear of small strips of chicken and add them into the pot.  I don’t put a TON of chicken in mine, only because I’m watching my Weight Watchers points, but if you’re a chicken lover, then use as much of your rotisserie chicken as you’d like!
  • Sprinkle the entire package of taco seasoning into the pot and mix everything together.
  • Cover the pot and turn the stove up to HIGH for 15-20 minutes.  When the soup is definitely hot and bubbling, turn it down to low for another 10 minutes.  
  • Chop up the jalapeรฑos and stir to really mix them in.  Let the soup sit for another couple of minutes.
  • Finally, grab a bowl and eat eat eat!
Do you have a favorite soup recipe for a chilly night?  Please feel free to tell me about it in the comments!

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Weigh-In #10: Not So Sour 17!

Remember that show My Super Sweet Sixteen?  You know the one–the kids would have incredibly extravagant parties and then would feel like the rest of their lives are a letdown? (just kidding)

I was relating this to my weight-loss.  Yes, I lost the “sweet 16” pounds–would the next pound feel like a letdown?

Uh NOOOO!!!!!!

I’m even MORE excited that I’ve now lost 17 pounds!!!
Recipes of the Week:

I must admit that I didn’t really cook at home this past week.  Things were super busy and there were birthday dinners and so forth, so I just wasn’t home for a substantial length of time to cook.  However, I did make these bad boys over the weekend.  They are VERY small, but you can have two cookies for 1 Weight Watchers point, so I’ll take em!  
Fact: I left out a plate of these for 10 seconds, and Boyfriend and his friends gobbled them up SUPER quickly.  Maybe it’s because they aren’t overly sweet?  Or maybe I’m an awesome baker?  I’ll go with the second ๐Ÿ˜‰
Exercise:

I managed to make it to one Step class, and I was KILLING IT…until about 35 minutes into the class when I was suddenly exhausted and wanted to fall over.  But I didn’t!
In prepping for my 5Ks, I also ran/walked a total of 6.92 miles over the past week!
Here’s to another week and another pound gone!

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Falling for Churchville

I’m so excited to link up with Macy, Meg and Veronica for this chance to show off how autumn has hit my small town!

BorrowedHeaven

So I live in a small town in Harford County, Maryland called Churchville.  I moved here just over a year ago to live with Boyfriend (cue flowery music), and we actually live a few houses down from his parents and right down the road from his brother’s family.  I have a strong feeling that we’ll still be in this town for several more years, but my dream is to move to the next town over, which is called…wait for it…Darlington.  Come ON–how adorable is that?!
While there are some housing developments, restaurants and gas stations moving in, most of Churchville is still very much farmland.

Most of Churchville is properly turning red, orange and gold, but the tree is my front yard (much like its owner) is having trouble accepting that the weather is getting colder and that summer is officially over.
There are no shortage of places to purchase pumpkins in our area, and Boyfriend’s mom always matches them up with a beautiful bunch of coordinating flowers.
She also finds flowers that exemplify the colors of fall themselves.
My favorite part of fall, however, is standing at the edge of my backyard, looking over the freshly harvested cornfield and seeing the barns and beautiful trees in the distance.
Clearly, Emmy is also a fan.
Happy fall everyone!!
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How to Win at Baby Shower Bingo

This weekend, I attended the baby shower of one of my longtime friends.

And let me tell you, the decorations for the future baby Lochlyn were just ADORABLE!!!

And just like at most baby showers, there was a game of Baby Shower Bingo.  For those of you who may not know, Baby Shower Bingo is a bingo game where you fill in potential presents that may be opened by the mama-to-be.  As she opens gifts, if they’re on your card, you cross off the squares, until someone yells, “Bingo!”
And let me tell you, if I’m at the shower, this person will be me.
You see, at this point, many many MANY of my friends have had babies, which means that I have been to many many MANY baby showers.  Trust me, I love a baby shower–so many cute little gifts!  Such happy and excited mamas!  And, well, I’m sure to win a prize ๐Ÿ˜‰
Here are some tips that I’ve acquired over the years:
Step 1–Spot Your Gift

It’s an obvious move to list the items that you bought on the bingo card, but you also want to see where your gift falls in the unwrapping line-up.  For example, at this weekend’s shower, I knew that I was going to list the stuffed giraffe and bibs on my bingo card, but my present was placed far from my friend, so I figured that it would be best to list (at least the giraffe) in one of the end squares instead of close to the center or in a diagonal.
Step 2–Diapers Are Your Friend

Someone ALWAYS gives the mama a box of diapers, or they’ll be in some sort of gift basket.  Definitely put those on your bingo card.
Step 3–Onesies onesies onesies!

Always always ALWAYS put onesies on the card.  No one can resist picking up a onesie for the infant because come on, they’re so darn cute!!  The mama will open one VERY early on!
Step 4–Remember the Registry

If the future mom used a registry, then chances are you may have glanced at it when shopping for your gift.  See what you can remember from the registry–did she register for crib sheets?  Receiving blankets?  Rattles?  List everything you can remember!
I hope that this helps you at your next shower!  Maybe you’ll walk away with an awesome prize like I did–a coloring book for adults and a set of colored pencils!



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Friday Five: The Little Things

Happy Friday to all my faves out there in Blogland!

This Friday, I thought I’d use the theme of all of the little things that have helped me get through this week.  People are always saying that it’s the little things in life that matter, and I wholeheartedly agree.
1–Having a “Work Mug”

As someone who is completely, totally and unabashedly addicted to caffeine, I need a cup of coffee everyday.  Sometimes two.  Or 3.  But regardless, I am a firm believer in making my coffee-drinking experience as pleasant as possible.  Sometimes this means having a chocolate-y or caramel-y coffee drink, but the easiest way to brighten up a coffee experience is to call dibs on a fun mug in the office.  After being back at my job since June, I feel safe is calling this mug “mine”:
Good choice, right?
2–“Go Home”


Sometimes you need two small words in order to do something good for yourself.  On Wednesday, I woke up feeling off my game.  Yes, Emmy had woken up twice during the night, whining because the big dog was blocking her from the water bowl, but still, that’s a typical thing that usually wouldn’t make me feel so funky.  I got to work, feeling exhausted…and then the pain started.  I thought it was just a small headache, so I didn’t really worry, until it got worse and worse until it was a full-blown migraine.  No one had ibuprofen or Tylenol, so I was preparing to go to the store and get some for myself.  
At this point, my friend Macy told me that I should just go home.  This was followed up by my supervisor telling me that I should go home.  “Nah,” I thought.  “I’ll just stick it out.”
And then my mom texted me and repeated what everyone else was saying, “Go home.”  So I did.  And some ibuprofen and a nap later, I was feeling much better.  And I was so grateful for those two little words from those three wonderful women because otherwise the rest of the day and evening would have been a complete disaster.
3–Little Notes
When I was working at my company the first time, my friends Macy, Allison and I would leave each other little notes if any of us had to leave early.  On Thursday, I was still feeling some of the after-effects of a migraine and ran out to get something to eat, knowing that I might miss Macy leaving to work from home for the afternoon.  When I got back to work, I saw this:

Again, just a little note, but it made me smile ๐Ÿ™‚
4–Books, Books, Books



Two new books made their way into my house this week!  I’m excited to start working through Lea Michele’s You First for Blogging for Books, and My Brilliant Friend will be the next books discussed in my book club.  Since I have the Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge starting November 1st, I’m trying to finish up these two before then…hopefully?
5–New EMOJIS!!!!

After having a migraine on Wednesday, I should have gone to bed early, but instead I had to wait until I updated my iPhone so that I could have the new emojis!  How long have a wished to text about tacos with an appropriate emoji???
I hope that you all have a great weekend!!!  I linked up with some fabulous ladies for Five on Friday!
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Happy Apple Day!

Happy Apple Day!!!

In a post earlier this month, Mar from T.O. and Fro let her readers know that October 20th is Apple Day!  As someone who enjoys this delicious fruit, I thought that I would share some apple recipes that I found around the interwebs.  Thank you to Yummly for leading me to most of these recipes!

Slow Cooker Hot Mulled Apple Cider from Syrup and Biscuits

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but when I woke up last Saturday morning, there was a distinct chill in the air, and all I wanted was some hot apple cider.  Now I know how to make it in my own kitchen!

This recipe is great for a treat of a breakfast or a healthier dessert!

Apple pies are soooooo yesterday–why not put your apples in brownie form?

Because she is the goddess of all things beautiful and stylish, of course Lauren Conrad found a way to improve upon the candy apple by making it a pretty pink and green.  I could not adore her more if I tried.
Do you have any go-to apple recipes for a fall day?
*Note: All recipe images are from the page on which their recipes are featured*


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Weigh-In #9: Sweet 16 and Celebration!

So last night, I went to dinner with two of Boyfriend’s cousins to talk wedding stuff (not mine lol–they’re both getting married in the near future).  I order as according to the points allotted for the rest of my day and was able to share some chips and salsa with the girls (yummers) and ordered chicken tortilla soup for myself (double yummers).  When I ordered, the waitress looked at me and skeptically raised her eyebrows.  “Just the soup?” she asked.  “The bowl is pretty small…”  I assured her that it was fine, and she shrugged and moved onto the girl sitting next to me who ordered my formerly favorite item at the restaurant: macaroni and cheese topped with chicken tenders.  I started salivating at the thought and briefly considered changing my order.  I mean, is it really worth it?  Seriously, how much could I possibly lose this week?

The answer is…3 pounds!  Meaning that I have hit the Sweet 16 (a.k.a. 16 pounds lost!)!!!!!!

I’m so so so happy!  Much of it might be due to getting back into running, but I’ve also really tried to stay within my points for the week, which becomes much more difficult as Halloween approaches.  Example: there were s’mores cupcakes shaped like ghosts at a party I went to over the weekend.  How can I NOT eat that?!  (Full disclosure: I split it with a friend teehee).

Healthy Recipes This Week

Ummmm, none.  I did make chili last week, but it was many more points than I would usually put towards a meal.  I also attempted to make a chicken recipe, but alas, the chicken was still frozen when I went to cook it.  And lastly, the healthy pumpkin bars that I was going to make went by the wayside when the dang can of pumpkin WOULD NOT OPEN!!!!!

(Sadly, no one else was open to assist with the unopenable can, womp womp)
Exercise This Week

I went to my first yoga class in FOREVER, and it was definitely difficult.  There were times when I was proud of a position that I could hold…but there were other times that I almost fell.
I also ran/walked 8.38 miles this week ๐Ÿ™‚
On a non-weight loss note, my lil ole blog has had over 10,000 views!!!!  
I hoping that even more are coming up, but thank you to everyone who has read and enjoyed the blog so far!  You are the bestest!!!

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Ready to Run! + #FallFunSwap

I want to be a great runner.  I reeeeeeeeallllllyyyyyy do.  But alas, I am not.  Not yet at least.

My first issue is speed…

When I use my MapMyRun app, I can’t help but compare myself to my other friends who are runners.  Their times astound me!  Seriously, you can run a mile in 8 minutes?!  Are you wearing rocket shoes?  
Finally, I realized that it’s not the time that really matters to me–it’s being able to run an entire course without stopping.  I was able to mostly do this at my first 5K but when the second one rolled around, it was crazy hot and humid outside, and I felt like I got a shin splint less than a mile in, so I’m sure that I walked at least 2 of the 3.1 miles.  In fact, the incredibly rude “helper” along the race route said to his colleague, “I guess this one isn’t trying for a record.”  Hey, thanks buddy.
After weeks of waffling over whether or not to try a different type of exercise, I put on my big girl pants and started training for a 5k again.  And I feel like I’m doing so much better than I have in the past!
On Thursday, my friend Brooke tagged me in a Facebook post, asking if I wanted to join her for a Virtual 5K for Every Boob Counts (supporting breast cancer research).  I took one look at that medal and thought, “How can I not run in this 5k?”  Plus, a big group of my friends will be doing it together which makes it even more fun.  Feeling like I was on a roll, I signed up for yet ANOTHER 5K that will be on November 14th.  
I know that 5Ks aren’t all that lengthy of races, and I know that my times probably won’t be fantastic–but as long as I finish, that’s all that matters!
Also, I know that this is a little late, but I want to thank Caitlin from It’s the Grad Life for my AMAZING gift as part of the #FallFunSwap!  Saturday I posted a photo of the adorable bundle on Instagram (@hope9680, in case you’d like to follow me!):
Polka-dot pumpkin, fuzzy socks and caramel apple Twizzlers!!!

Thank you again, Caitlin!  And thank you Colleen for including me in the #FallFunSwap!

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Friday Favorites: Giftie Edition!!!

Happy Friday to all you Fall-lovin’ folks!!!

As someone who struggles to buy things for myself, I get completely blown away when people give me gifts!  So this week, I’m going to share a few gifts that I was lucky to receive this week because honestly, aren’t presents EVERYBODY’S favorites???
Totoro Mug and Apron

My friend Caitlin told me that she ordered my birthday present, but the delivery was taking forever.  I believe it, since I ordered her birthday present from Etsy back in June, and not realizing that I was ordering it from ENGLAND, it was not given to Caitlin until mid-July.
Caitlin and I share a love for the anime character Totoro from the movie My Neighbor Totoro.  Totoro is kind of a gerbil/bear/rabbit/pillow hybrid, and I absolutely adore him.
Because of our immense love for Totoro, Caitlin got me one of these adorable mugs (the green one):
And knowing that I’m trying to learn to cook and would happily wear a costume while doing so, a Totoro apron!
(please excuse the lack of make-up)

Yoga Mat and Weights

Boyfriend is semi-obsessed with Amazon Prime, so whenever we need practically anything that can wait 2 days, he’ll order it from Amazon in lieu of going to a store.  Because of this, I asked for a yoga mat and some weights.  And since Boyfriend knows me so well, he made sure that they were each a pretty color and whimsical ๐Ÿ˜‰


(If you look closely at the upper left corner, you can catch a tiny glimpse of the Emmy pup)


Totoro Rug

Ready for some more Totoro?  Even though this is technically a gift for both of us, Boyfriend also ordered us a small Totoro rug for our room (yes, he’s very much a fan):
Since they’re small, he actually ordered two, and the dogs happily slept on them last night ๐Ÿ™‚
I linked up with Meet at the Barre for Friday Favorites!!!

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